Report: Indians’ SP Mike Clevinger traded to San Diego Padres

By Matt Johnson
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Mike Clevinger has been traded to the San Diego Padres, the latest big move by the Padres before the MLB trade deadline.

The Padres have been busy in recent days, bolstering their club in an all-in effort to contend for the World Series. After making several sizable trades, San Diego struck the blockbuster deal on Monday by reportedly landing Clevinger.

Mike Clevinger traded to the San Diego Padres

Clevinger, one of the top pitchers in the AL during the 2019 season, became available leading up to the trade deadline after he broke COVID-19 protocols and lied to his teammates. While Cleveland eventually brought him back to their rotation, the damage was already done.

The deal, reported by ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, sends the 29-year-old righty to San Diego for a massive haul of prospects and young, MLB talent. According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, San Diego is sending pitcher Cal Quantrill, catcher Austin Hedges, outfielder Josh Naylor and prospects Gabriel Arias, Joey Cantillo and Owen Miller to Cleveland.

As noted by The Athletic’s Zack Meisel, this is the fifth trade between these two clubs in the past 25 months. It’s also a rarity in MLB with two contenders with World Series aspirations making a blockbuster deal that will shake up both teams’ chances in October.

The Indians, noted for operating with a tight payroll, wanted to deal Clevinger due to their rotation depth and his rising salary. He is eligible for arbitration in each of the next two seasons and his performance as a front-line starter would have driven his salary higher than ownership was comfortable paying.

Arias is the top-rated prospect in the deal. The 20-year-old shortstop is ranked as San Diego’s No.7 prospect by MLB Pipeline, profiling as a strong defender at shortstop with the ability to become an All-Star at his peak. Cantillo, a 6-foot-4 southpaw, is rated as the Padres’ No. 9 prospect, but is likely two years away from making an impact in the majors.

Quantrill owns a 2.60 ERA with a 1.33 WHIP across 17.1 innings this season. The 25-year-old has worked out of San Diego’s bullpen, but is viewed as a starter moving forward in Cleveland.

In exchange for Clevinger and outfielder Greg Allen, along with a player to be named later, Cleveland adds Naylor to its outfield and Hedges could step in immediately as the club’s catcher.

Mike Clevinger’s stats, impacts on Padres

While the Padres have made several key additions in recent days, adding Clevinger to the rotation is a monumental move. The club wanted to come out of the MLB trade deadline with a front-line starter and it did just that.

Clevinger dominated during the 2019 season, taking his game to another level and proving he can be an outstanding starting pitcher when healthy. He recorded a 2.71 ERA with a 169/37 K/BB ratio across 126 innings this past year. Even more impressively, he struck out 33.9% of batters faced, held them to a .209 batting average and held a 1.06 WHIP.

While he hasn’t been as sharp this season in four starts, the 6-foot-4 righty continues to prove he is a front-line pitcher. He owns a 3.18 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 22.2 innings this season and just held the Minnesota Twins to two runs in his most recent outing.

Clevinger will join a pitching staff that will look significantly different from where it was last week. He will likely start between Chris Paddack and Dinelson Lamet, providing San Diego with three pitchers capable of dominating a playoff game.

Meanwhile, the Padres added Trevor Rosenthal, Austin Adams and Dan Altavilla to their bullpen. With Drew Pomeranz also back off the injured list, a major weakness is now in much better standing.

The Padres are clearly making a huge push to win the World Series this year and they will now provide even greater competition to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Clevinger is also under contract through the 2022 season, fitting perfectly into this club’s window for contention.